Twenty new releases stretch the boundaries of science and space this month, including several new series additions and an interesting mix of new anthologies and collections. David Weber edits Beginnings: Worlds of Honor #6, a collection of military science fiction; Rich Horton edits The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy; Gardner Dozois edits The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection; and Connie Willis has a collection of her award-winning short fiction in The Best of Connie Willis.
Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here.
Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
[Read about this month’s science fiction releases.]
Seventeen short tales of the Liaden Universe brought together for the first time, and the first of two volumes that will together collect thirty-three shorter tales of a galaxy full of interstellar trading clans.
The military science fiction series continues with a collection of tales by Timothy Zahn, Charles E. Gannon, David Weber and more, set in Weber’s Honor Harrington series. The mission: to boldly explore David Weber’s Honorverse; to deliver all the action, courage, derring-do, and pulse-pounding excitement of space naval adventure with tales set in a world touched by the greatness of one epic heroine: Honor Harrington. The story collection includes a new David Weber novella featuring a young Manticoran Royal Navy commander who goes by the name Harrington.
The year is AD 7000. The human species is extinct due to its fragile nature. Krina Alizond-114 is metahuman, descended from the robots that once served humanity. She’s on a journey to the water-world of Shin-Tethys to find her sister Ana. Her trip is interrupted when pirates capture her ship. Their leader, Count Rudi, suspects that there’s more to Krina’s search. Krina and Ana each possess half of the fabled Atlantis Carnet, a lost financial instrument of unbelievable value, capable of bringing down entire civilizations. Krina accepts his offer to get her to Shin-Tethys in exchange for an introduction to Ana. What neither of them suspects is that a body-double assassin has stalked Krina across the galaxy, ready to take the Carnet, and leave no witnesses alive.
On the Razor’s Edge, by Michael Flynn, (July 2, Tor)
The secret war among the Shadows of the Name is escalating. Donovan buigh, half honored guest and half prisoner, is carried deeper into the Confederation, all the way to Holy Terra herself, to help plan the rebel assault on the Secret City. If he does not soon remember the key information locked inside his fractured mind, his rebel friends may resort to torture to pull it from his subconscious. Bridget ban has organized a posse, a pack of Hounds, to go in pursuit of her kidnapped daughter, despite knowing that Ravn Olafsdottr kidnapped the harper precisely to lure Bridget ban in her wake. The Hound, the harper and Donovan wind deeper into a web of deceit and treachery certain of only one thing: nothing, absolutely nothing, is what it seems to be.
Young Adult. Tyler MacCandless can’t focus, even when he takes his medication. He can’t focus on anything other than taking care of his older brother, Brandon, who’s in rehab for heroin abuse. The only person he can really count on is his Civilian Air Patrol Mentor, Rick. The one thing in life it seems he doesn’t suck at is playing video games. Rick asks him to test a video game. If his score’s high enough, it could earn him a place in flight school. When he falls in love with the game’s designer, the legendary gamer Ani, Tyler thinks his life might be turning around. Until Brandon goes MIA from rehab and Tyler and Ani discover that the game is more than it seems. Tyler must figure out what’s really going on in time to save his brother, and prevent his own future from going down in flames.
Welcome to Snow World, where alien intervention has ruined the land and reduced humanity to warring clans that command steam-powered zeppelins and battlebots. This scarred world once known as Southern California is a frozen wasteland. Romulus Buckle, captain of the warship the Pneumatic Zeppelin, is obsessed with his sister’s death which he blames on the Imperial clan. When several clan leaders, including an Imperial general, are kidnapped during a peace conference, Buckle and his crew launch a rescue mission into an impenetrable prison fortress known as the City of the Founders. Buckle forges an alliance with the Imperials. Secret agendas and hidden loyalties could spark a new war that will plunge the remnants of humanity into another Stone Age.
The D’neeran Factor, by Terry A. Adams, Sheila Gilbert (editor) (July 2, DAW)
For true-humans, it is common knowledge that the D’neerans, human telepaths who come from the planet D’neera, are considered not quite human, though trustworthy. True-humans are the lords of the universe, which is why the exploratory star ship Endeavor has launched its star search, broadcasting a message of greeting and hope to possible sentient lifeforms throughout the galaxy. Everyone is shocked when their broadcast is answered, and even more so when the message is meant for the single D’neeran aboard Endeavor, Lady Hanna. Hanna must soon shoulder a responsibility bigger than she could have foreseen. The fate of all humankind and the likelihood of an interstellar war rests on her shoulders, as she becomes the ambassador for the human race.
The narrator of this tale is no ordinary human, in fact, he’s not human at all. Before he was sent away from the planet he calls home, precision and perfection governed his life. He lived in a utopian society where mathematics transformed a people, creating limitless knowledge and immortality. All of this is threatened when an earthly being opens the doorway to the same technology. Cambridge University professor Andrew Martin cracks the Reimann Hypothesis. The narrator is sent to Earth to erase all evidence of the solution and kill anyone who has seen the proof. The narrator struggles to pass undetected long enough to gain access to Andrew’s research. The narrator sees hope and redemption in the humans’ imperfections and begins to question the mission that brought him there. (U.S. Release)
Young Adult. Now in their second year as superhuman government weapons-in-training at the Pentagonal Spire, Tom Raines and his friends are mid-level cadets in the elite combat corps known as the Intrasolar Forces. Encouraged to betray his ideals and friendships for the sake of his country, Tom is convinced there must be another way. The more aware he becomes of the corruption surrounding him, the more determined he becomes to fight it. Drawn into a dramatic power struggle, Tom stays a hyperintelligent step ahead of everyone, or so he believes. When he learns that he and his friends have unwittingly made the most grievous error imaginable, Tom must find a way to outwit an enemy so nefarious that victory seems hopeless.
Markus Selvage has been bent by life, ground up and spit out again. In San Francisco’s darkest sexual underground, he is a perpetual innocent, looking within bodies, his own and others’, for the lost secrets of satisfaction. But extreme body modification is only the beginning of where he will go before he’s finished.
This fifth volume of the year’s best science fiction and fantasy features stories from Elizabeth Bear, Aliette de Bodard, Ursula K. Le Guin, Jay Lake, Kelly Link, Robert Reed, Lavie Tidhar, Catherynne M. Valente, Genevieve Valentine, and many others. Selecting the best fiction from Analog, Asimov’s, Clarkesworld, F&SF, Strange Horizons, and other top venues.
From a near future mourning the extinction of dogs to an alternate history in which invading aliens were defeated by none other than Emily Dickinson; from a madcap convention of bumbling quantum physicists in Hollywood to a London whose Underground has become a storehouse of intangible memories both foul and fair, here are the award-winning stories of a science fiction master. Includes a new introduction by the author and personal afterwords to each story, plus a special look at three of Willis’s public speeches.
The entire world is thrilled by the discovery of a new Earthlike planet. Advance imaging shows that the planet has oceans and a breathable atmosphere. A human exploration team is soon dispatched to explore the planet, now nicknamed New Earth. All of the explorers understand that they are essentially on a one-way mission. The trip takes eighty years each way, so even if they are able to get back to Earth, nearly 200 years will have elapsed. They will have aged only a dozen years thanks to cryonic suspension. Upon landing on the planet they discover New Earth is inhabited by a small group of intelligent creatures who look very much like humans. Are they native to this world, or invaders from elsewhere? The scientists begin to realize that this planet cannot possibly be natural.
In the distant past, the leader of a Neanderthal tribe confronts the end of his kind. Today, a computational biologist, a Navy pilot, and an autistic boy are drawn together by the ancient mystery that gave rise to Homo sapiens. Planes are falling from the sky. Global communications have ceased. America stands on the brink of war with China, but war is the least of humankind’s concerns. As solar storms destroy Earth’s electronics and plunge the world into another Ice Age, our civilization finds itself overrun by a powerful new species of man. This thriller takes readers to an all-too-plausible tomorrow that’s as scientifically rigorous as it is imaginative.
Young Adult. Terra has never known anything but life aboard the Asherah, a city-within-a-spaceship that left Earth five hundred years ago in search of refuge. At sixteen, working a job that doesn’t interest her, and living with a grieving father who only notices her when he’s yelling, Terra is sure that there has to be more to life than what she’s got. When she inadvertently witnesses the captain’s guard murdering an innocent man, Terra is suddenly thrust into the dark world beneath her ship’s surface. Terra discovers that her choices may determine life or death for the people she cares most about. Before landing on the long-promised planet, Terra has to make the decision of a lifetime, one that will determine the fate of her people.
The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois, (July 23, St. Martin’s Griffin)
What secrets lay beyond the far reaches of the universe? What mysteries belie the truths we once held to be self evident? The world of science fiction has long been a porthole into the realities of tomorrow, blurring the line between life and art. This collection brings together award-winning authors such as Robert Reed, Alastair Reynolds, Damien Broderick, Elizabeth Bear, Paul McAuley and John Barnes. Contains an extensive recommended reading guide and a summation of the year in science fiction.
As captain of Hellfire, Ia must now assemble a crew that can rise to the ultimate challenge of saving the galaxy. The hardest part will be getting them to believe her, to trust in her prophecies. If they don’t, her own crew will end up being the biggest obstacle in her race against time. The Salik are breaking through the Blockade, plunging the known galaxy into war. Ia cannot stop it this time, nor does she want to. This is the terrible price she has seen all along, that some must pay with their lives so that others might live. Now only time itself can prove whether each member of her crew is merely a soldier or truly one of Ia’s Damned.
A story of two brothers, two planets, and humankind’s first attempt to colonize another world. La Nueva Temporada is Earth’s only extrasolar colony, an Earth-type planet caught in the grip of a very Earth-type Ice Age. Alex Mateo wants nothing more than to stay and contribute to the terraforming of his homeworld. But tragedy strikes the colony, and to save it from starvation and collapse Alex must reluctantly entrust himself to the only starship in existence to make the long, slower than light journey back to Earth. But it is his brother Quin, who loathes La Nueva Temporada and all the people on it, who must watch his world collapse around him and become its ultimate savior.
In the mid-23rd century, Darwin, Australia, stands as the last human city on Earth. The world has succumbed to an alien plague, with most of the population transformed into mindless, savage creatures. The planet’s refugees flock to Darwin, where a space elevator, created by the architects of this apocalypse, the Builders, emits a plague-suppressing aura. Skyler Luiken has a rare immunity to the plague. Backed by an international crew of fellow “immunes,” he leads missions into the dangerous wasteland beyond the aura’s edge to find the resources Darwin needs to stave off collapse. When the Elevator starts to malfunction, Skyler is tapped, along with, Dr. Tania Sharma, to solve the mystery of the failing alien technology and save the remnants of humanity.
Telepath Den Harper did the dirty work for the authoritarian Expansion, reading the minds of criminals, spies and undesirables. Unable to take the strain, he stole a starship and headed into the unknown, a sector of lawless space known as Satan’s Reach. For five years he worked as a trader among the stars, then discovered that the Expansion had set a bounty hunter on his trail. But what does the Expansion want with a lowly telepath like Harper? Is there validity in the rumors that human space is being invaded by aliens from another realm? Harper finds out the answer to both these questions when he rescues an orphan girl from certain death, and comes face to face with the dreaded aliens known as the Weird.